Churchill had apparently thought along these same lines as well In
1938 he had written a disturbing prognosis in the event of England's
diplomatic course following the road of appeasement towards Geiniany.
*' Undoubtedly the Government could make an agreement with Germany;
all they have to do is to give her back her former colonies or such others as
she may desire, to muzzle the British Press and platforms by law of censor-
ship, to give Herr Hitler a free hand to spread the Nazi system and domin-
ance far and wide through Central Europe. After an interval,, long or short,
we should be drawn into a war, but by that time we should be confronted
with an antagonist overwhelmingly powerful and find ourselves deprived
of every friend."
At Teheran., Churchill might have found himself substituting Russia for
Germany in this extract, Stalin's name in the place of Hitler's, the Soviet
system for the Nazi system. No one in Britain could understand better
than her Prime Minister what lay at the end of the road of appeasement,
and the problem now confronting him was whether or not it was the
moment to c make the first resolute stand ' as Sir Eyre Crowe had advised,
and to * ruin the blackmailer ?—and the Great Alliance as well ?
Britain, in comparison with the task which fate had assigned her, was
rather a small country, and her inhabitants were numerically twice or
three times less than either of the two Powers "who, in this twentieth
century, had seen in her the rival to their contest over the continent of
Europe. Due to her achievements in the organisation of her industry,
and her unique role in the creation of her Empire, Britain, that great
mistress of alliances, possessed authority and credit much greater than
seemed feasible, when taking into consideration the figure of her population.
There were two essential alliances which could have strengthened
Great Britain; one, with the free countries of the Continent and the other
with the United States.
At Teheran, Roosevelt was to turn down the opportunity of forming an
Anglo-American bloc and of taking up a joint leadership of world affairs.
Britain's alternative was to seek and grasp on her own the position of
leader of Europe : for a Europe divided into small states could not, in this
era of heavy fighting machines, of mass air armadas and of mass armoured
infantry, withstand the pressure and attack of any great rapacious Power
endeavouring to destroy it. Twice in the lifetime of one generation,
Britain was confronted with the problem of opposing such an action and
defending on the mainland of Europe the approaches to her island home.
Was she now able to shoulder the burden once more and try again to
stabilise a European Great Alliance when victory had been achieved under
her leadership ? Churchill had already appealed to France to join the
British Empire ; could this invitation be extended to cover other countries
as well—the whole of Europe ?
There was no third alternative, for any alliance with Russia occasioned
during a war against a common enemy standing between Britain and
Russia^ was against the very nature of things when the enemy had been